Cardinals vs. Braves Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions: Back Wainwright as an Underdog in Game 3?

Cardinals vs. Braves Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions: Back Wainwright as an Underdog in Game 3? article feature image

Dale Zanine, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Mike Soroka

  • The betting odds for Game 3 between the Braves and Cardinals opened with the Braves as slights favorites (-115 moneyline odds, compared to +105 for the Cardinals).
  • MLB analyst Sean Zerillo examines the odds and the matchup to make his picks for Game 3.

Cardinals vs. Braves Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions for Game 3

Probable starters: Mike Soroka (13-4, 2.68 ERA) vs. Adam Wainwright (14-10, 4.19 ERA)

  • Braves odds: -115
  • Cardinals odds: +105
  • Over/Under:  8
  • First pitch:  4:10 p.m. ET on TBS

Odds as of Sunday afternoon. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

After splitting the first two games of this best-of-5 series in Atlanta, the Braves and Cardinals head to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4, beginning on Sunday afternoon.

In the pitching matchup, the Braves will send out rookie Mike Soroka, who had a minuscule 1.55 ERA in road games this season, against Adam Wainwright, who will take the mound for his 25th career postseason game (13th start).

Does playoff experience give Wainwright the edge, or is the youngster, Soroka, too talented for the aging Curveball specialist?

And how should you approach betting Game 3 of this NLDS matchup?

The Starters

Should you back the young control artist in Soroka, who outpitched his underlying metrics by as much as a full run, in a four WAR rookie season?

Or the grizzled playoff veteran Wainwright who, while no longer the pitcher that he once was, has passed the test numerous times in big playoff moments.

Soroka’s analysis is a taller tasking than screaming, “REGRESSION” to the sky and hoping to make a buck, while Wainwright’s is more straightforward.

His FIP has settled between 4.28 and 4.36 for each of the past three seasons and, while no longer above average, the 38-year old is still a capable starter as a result of maximizing his strengths.

Like most pitchers, Adam Wainwright has lost fastball velocity with age:

But he’s a great pitcher because he’s a great problem solver. And Wainwright has offset his declining velocity by throwing his curveball, one of the best curveballs of all time, as often as possible:

By total pitch value, Wainwright’s curve ranked 9th-best amongst all curveballs by qualified starters this season.

By career pitch value, it ranks fourth all-time.

You might remember it from Game 7 of the 2007 NLCS when Wainwright (pitching in relief) turned Carlos Beltran into a statue (sorry Mets fans):

Twelve years later, the older man continues to spin his money-maker, and more often (36.8%) than every starter except for Charlie Morton:

The Braves drafted Mike Soroka in the first round in 2015 out of the Canadian high school ranks in Calgary.

The six-foot-five righty rose quickly through the minor leagues and displayed his dominant sinker and uncommon control at the big league level this year.

30 Seconds of Mike Soroka Sinkers.

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 5, 2019

His ground-ball rate (51.2%) ranked sixth amongst all starters.

All four of Soroka’s pitches (sinker, four-seam fastball, changeup, slider) returned positive value, and this 22-year-old has an incredibly bright future.

And while both his BABIP (.280) and strand rate (79.9%) were low, Soroka generates a ton of weakly hit groundballs – and might be a rare pitcher who is capable of outpitching his underlying metrics for the foreseeable future.

The Bullpens

On the season, the Braves bullpen ranks 14th in FIP, 16th in xFIP, and 17th in K-BB%. By the same metrics, the Cardinals rank 11th, 12th, and 15th.

Tyler Webb was the only Cardinals reliever to pitch the first two games in this series.

The Braves turned to both Max Fried and their closer Mark Melancon (combined 60 pitches) in Games 1 and 2.

I wouldn’t expect to see Fried, who made 30 starts this year, again in Game 3; but Melancon should be available for another save situation –  but his arm might be a little fatigued after throwing a couple of high-stress innings at home.

Julio Teheran replaced Chris Martin, who was injured warming up in Game 1, on the Braves NLDS roster.

Projected Lineups

Data per FantasyLabs

Umpire and Weather Report

Data per Sports Insights

Sam Holbrook has been the plate umpire in five postseason games, and the favorite has won all five of those matchups.

Whether betting on the over or under, you would be 2-2-1 in those games; though he historically leans to the over (53.8%).

Trends to Know

Dating back to 2006, the Cardinals are 7-2 as a home underdog (24-23 overall) in the playoffs.

Adam Wainwright is 5-7 to date in his playoff starts, including a 2-2 record as a dog and a 3-3 record at home.

In the regular season, Wainwright is the most profitable pitcher in our database (dating back to 2005), with a 201-114 moneyline record; netting a consistent $100 bettor +$4,126 (13.1% ROI).

He is 105-56 (65.2%) in home games and 11-6 as a home underdog; including a 4-1 record (+$365) in 2019.

The Cardinals went 12-6 as a home underdog this season, the second most profitable home underdog in MLB (+$766).

The Braves were 26-15 (63.4%) as a road favorite during the regular season.

When combining the regular season and the postseason, Busch Stadium is the third most profitable park for betting unders in our database, at 640-553-64 (53.6%, +$4,332, 3.4% ROI).

Model Projected Odds

Favorite Bet

I projected the Braves as a -101 favorite in this game, and I set the total at 8.37 runs. Therefore, I don’t see any value on the total, but I did place a wager on the Cardinals moneyline at +110; when I saw a gap of about two percent between my projection and the listed odds.

That is the lowest price that I would take the Cardinals moneyline, but I do think they’re worth a live look down a run during the game – as the Braves seem to lack confidence in the back end of their bullpen, and Melancon should be fatigued.

This should continue to be a tight series, and one that I anticipate will go back to Atlanta for a Game 5.

Betting action on Game 3 is essentially split down the middle, with the public leaning slightly towards Atlanta (and Soroka’s shinier ERA) on the moneyline.

I think that the Cardinals continue to be underrated by the market.

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